We ran into an interesting problem with R, yesterday. (Aside from the fact that he’s clearly sick and dribbling snot down his face.)
Yesterday morning, he started banging as usual when he was ready to be let out of his crib. After we spent a few more minutes lingering in bed, the banging stopped as usual. Down the hall, we could hear knocking on a door, which is the Monster’s usual way of saying he’s ready to get up too. So I got up, put on my slippers, and slogged out into the hall.
The knocking wasn’t from the Monster – it was from R. He had managed to get out of his crib and just couldn’t get the door to his room open.
And, as he demonstrated again later in the day, he’s figured out how to get out of his crib just fine. His room is now being rearranged – pending our turning his crib into a toddler bed – so he can’t do it again.
Now, the Monster had escaped the crib once himself, but had traumatized himself sufficiently that he didn’t do it again. Hell, the kid’s shown that he can climb over most of the gates in the house, and yet doesn’t do it in general simply because it’s not what he does. The Monster is usually content to just wait for someone to come get him, even if it does eventually entail his yelling to get someone’s attention to let him out – ninety-nine times out of a hundred, he’s found in his bed first thing in the morning. (Okay, so he might be standing up and looking out the window from behind the curtain, but his feet are still in the bed.)
At times, I’ve worried about how the Monster might rub off on R (mostly with repeating behaviors or doing things that “seem” like Autism – R, for instance, has started to spin in place now and again, though he can verbalize that he’s spinning… as if it’s a game to him), or how R might rub off on the Monster (there’s times that he now repeats things R mis-says because they sound funny or because they got a response from us). I find myself now concerned that both kids are going to start rubbing off on each other in terms of bedroom/playroom escapes…
On the other hand, and as I’ve frequently commented, this is a huge step of adjustment for us. It’s just too easy to fall into the “well, the Monster did X, Y and Z” trap and assume that while R might do those things earlier, that he’d probably do the exact same things… and we’re finding ourselves caught in problems as a result. We’re also caught, because we think about “X, Y and Z”, that we’re not thinking about whether R would like A, B or C as well, which makes us wonder if we’re depriving him of experiences.
For example – the climbing out of bed thing. I think the Monster’s escape attempt was about the same time, but as mentioned, that was a one-time occurrence. Likewise, while we know the Monster has a limited diet, and we offer R what we’re eating, we very often just give R the same thing as the Monster because of monkey-see, monkey-do with food. Are we keeping him from exploring properly because of his brother? Should we be constructing situations – like the separate bedrooms – that give him more room to explore things without his brother rubbing off on him?
Seriously, younger siblings are so much stress. Why did we decide a second child was such a great idea?